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WIRE XI 2020 - 3 intensive days discussing research, innovation practices and challenges in Europe

The 11th edition of the WIRE XI 2020, “Week of Innovative Regions in Europe“ (4-11/11/2020), the main European policy forum for innovation and regional development, hosted by the University of Split, Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism (Croatia), partner of the Cultural Studies in Business project, has ended today.


The Croatian partner invited the other universities involved in the Cultural Studies in Business months ago, before the global pandemic outbreak and the proposal was to combine the Learning Week foreseen for March 2020 exactly in Split. Due to COVID the physical mobility was not possible but the event has been realised through a very technological way and a new kind of participation has been possible.

Lecturers of each university could connect and enjoy important panels and feel like part of the organization of the conference through the different ways to interact (chat rooms, questions & answers moments and live streaming).

We consider WIRE as part of our learning process and as part of what was supposed to be a week together in another Country but transformed a longer period which we are planning to complete to reach the same level of sharing and cooperation expected by the original plan of the Learning Week.


Coming back to WIRE2020. Here a short overview of what has been for us!


A big event and 3 intensive days of online conferences, due to the exceptional circumstances (COVID-19), for policy makers, public authorities, knowledge centers and enterprises to discuss research and innovation (R&I) practices, challenges and opportunities throughout the European regions, with a direct view on the current and future EU funding programs.


The online event has been organized under the agenda of the Croatian EU Council Presidency 2020, with the support of European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation and relevant national authorities: Ministry of Science and Education, Split-Dalmatia County and City of Split.


The program in details.


The first day, November 4, 2020, after a brief opening of the event, documentary videos had been shown, portraying two companies that originated from the Student Business Incubator at the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, Split. Their innovation potential and their connection to our rich cultural heritage had been presented. After the videos, a real time Q&A session had followed.

In the afternoon session, the host representative gave a welcome speech and briefly introduced the host institution and the host city, Split-Dalmatia County. Participants had the opportunity to interact and to participate in learning games and trivia quizzes.


The second day, November 5, 2020, opening speeches and a Round Table with:

  • Radovan Fuchs - Minister of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia

  • Jean-Eric Paquet - Director-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission)

  • Maja Fredotović - Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, Split

  • Dragan Ljutić - Rector of the University of Split

  • Andro Krstulović Opara - Mayor of the City of Split

  • Blaženko Boban - Prefect of the Split-Dalmatia County

Then, an interesting speech by Roberta Capello titled "A New ERA for R&I: Which Opportunities for Less Developed Regions?" and 3 online parallel sessions on different topics had been presented:

  1. Working with regions for European recovery

  2. Skill supply for remote but resilient innovation ecosystems

  3. Building a vision for future research and innovation in the blue economy

In the afternoon, 4 sessions titled:

1. The rise of discontent in the EU. What can EU (Innovation) policy do about it

2. Empowering communities for innovative tourism-based entrepreneurship: Connecting natural and cultural heritage

3. Coffee Break with Researchers: Insights about Regional Development in Non-Core Regions

4. Regions: Get Involved in EU Missions: Climate change adaptation and societal change”, “Climate-neutral and smart cities” and “Healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters” mission areas


The third day, 6 November 2020, plenary session with a keynote speech by Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics, UK on "Innovating in less developed regions in times of crisis" and round-table with:

  • Anna Panagopoulou - Director for Research and Innovation outreach (European Commission), DG Research and Innovation

  • Alessandro Rainoldi - Head of Unit, B3 Territorial Development. Joint Research Centre (European Commission)

  • Anne Karjalainen - Chair of the European Committee of the Regions Commission for Innovation and Research (SEDEC)

  • Silje Haus-Reve - Researcher II at NORCE Norwegian Research Centre and Centre for Innovation Research, Business School, University of Stavanger.

Then, 3 interesting speeches on:

  1. Creating formal and informal entrepreneurial ecosystems – case of remote regions

  2. Building Economic and Social Resilience in the remote regions – Circular economy and industrial symbiosis

  3. Innovative Governance Practices in the Public Sector

and a closing plenary by:

  • Signe Ratso - Deputy Director-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission)

  • Tomislav Sokol - Member of the European Parliament

  • Maja Fredotović - Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Business and Tourism, Split

  • Magda De Carli - European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.

Here, some pictures of the conference and the official website of the event https://wire2020.eu/


Article written by Ylenia Azzaro, social media manager, member of the editorial staff, representative of JUMP association